Recent Biology Graduate, Hollie Young-Oxendine, Co-authors Alzheimer’s Paper in Dr. Ben Bahr’s Lab (June 2011)
Undergraduate research in Dr. Ben Bahr’s laboratory paid off handsomely for former Biology major and RISE Fellow, Hollie Young-Oxendine. Hollie co-authored a paper, “Protective effects of positive lysosomal modulation in Alzheimer’s disease transgenic mouse models,” that was published this past June in the open access journal, PLoS ONE. Hollie was one of a team of researchers who worked on the five-year study, first initiated in Dr. Bahr’s former University of Connecticut laboratory, and recently completed in Dr. Bahr’s current lab in the Biotechnology Research and Training Center in Pembroke. Hollie contributed important results, as found in figures 1, 2 and 5 of the paper, and she presented some of the work at the 2010 Gordon Research Conference in Lucca, Italy.
According to Dr. Bahr, “the study found that lysosomal modulatory agents produced opposing effects on the lysosomal enzyme cathepsin B vs. Aβ42 levels, thus supporting the idea that the lysosomal pathway is responsible, at least in part, for cellular clearance of toxic Aβ peptides. We discovered first-in-class compounds that greatly increase the lysosomal content of cathepsins, thus providing a unique avenue for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. The lysosomal system responds to a pharmacologically plausible strategy that is mechanism based, resulting in intracellular Aβ clearance that also leads to reduced extracellular deposits, providing new ideas regarding Aβ metabolism and equilibrium events that influence extracellular deposits. The enhanced clearance led to neuroprotection in two transgenic mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease that express different degrees of Aβ pathology. The corresponding amelioration of synaptic and behavioral deficits indicates that lysosomal enhancement can provide effective protection at different stages of Alzheimer’s pathogenesis, thus having important implications for the development of disease-modifying therapies.”
During the two years Hollie worked in Dr. Bahr’s lab, she presented their research at several conferences, including the Pembroke Undergraduate Research and Creativity (PURC) Symposium and the annual meeting of the North Carolina Academy of Science (NCAS). Her research experience was made possible by the Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) program.
Hollie graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology (track in Molecular Biology) in May of 2011. Dr. Bahr is the William C. Friday Chair and Distinguished Professor of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry.
Photos Courtesy of Sonda Rogers of the RISE program.
Updated: Thursday, September 29, 2011
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